Speed Up Brexit, May says
The UK government has promised to “intensify” talks with the EU and, instead of the negotiations taking place once a month, there should be a rolling series of meetings. May's spokeswoman told reporters: "We are ready to intensify negotiations. Nothing has been formally agreed, but that is something that we can discuss. Typically in negotiations, as time goes on, you see the pace pick up."
May’s remarks are a response to Barnier’s comments on educating British people on the single market, which in turn, are a response to David Davis’ comments on the EU’s pessimistic attitude towards the Brexit negotiations and the UK’s failure to achieve any significant progress. The chain of commentary seeks to reassure British people of the government’s strong hand in the negotiations, while Barnier’s interruptions function as a reminder of the Brexit difficulties ahead.
Barnier Says Brexit would be Educational
It is hard not to take the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier’s latest comments, as scathing, especially after he said Brexit would be an “educational process” for those who voted for Brexit.
Speaking at the annual international economic conference, Ambrosetti Forum, in Cernobbio—near George Clooney’s mansion in Laglio, on Lake Como in northern Italy—Barnier explained that Europe would teach people of the economic consequences of Brexit. He said: “I have a state of mind: not aggressive ... but I’m not naïve…. There are extremely serious consequences of leaving the single market and it hasn’t been explained to the British people. We intend to teach people … what leaving the single market means.”
Barnier’s caustic remarks, follow the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Davis’ comments on Sunday, when he described the European commission as “silly” for not admitting that progress has been made during the third round of the Brexit negotiations. In regards to the financial obligations, Davis explained that the EU is trying to blackmail the UK by stressing the limited time, but “Time is not running out. We have a two-year process. Every time we come to something serious there will be a pressure exercise of this sort. Money is incredibly important; it is the thing that frightens them most.”
Conservative MP John Redwood, also agreed with Davis and said that the EU’s language showed that the Europeans’ haven’t accepted the Brexit result yet. “I think it’s very sad that the EU does not appear to be listening to the British people since the Brexit vote,” Redwood said. “As an EU representative,” Redwood argued that the EU “have a duty to conduct themselves in a way that is positive and friendly to neighbouring states, which we will be. It strikes me as desperation because they would really like to spend more of our money. We have given them three more years of paying large sums into the EU and that is enough time to adjust their budgets.”
In an article written for Express, yesterday, Redwood said that the EU Commission were delaying the Brexit process as they “have a vested interest in delay. Every extra month that we stay in they pick up another £1billion of our taxes as a net contribution. Their negotiating style is to claim it is very complex, whilst rejecting UK proposals to tackle the problems.
They demand large extra payments from the UK before they will even consider sorting out their future relationship with us.”
Redwood’s polemic against the EU and Labour, who “have just flip-flopped from accepting we are leaving the EU and its single market and customs union, into saying they now want us to stay in much of the EU,” cultivates a particular tone that rejects conciliation, dialogue and open-mindedness, sacrificing a desire for solutions and progress by using inflammatory language to satisfy certain appetites. But sidestepping crucial issues and complexities for the sake of easy answers, and saying that Brexit is not as complicated as some people are presenting it to be, undermines the UK voters’ logic, by avoiding engaging with them on germane problems which will affect their lives.
Instead, if Brexit is what is so much desired, and that remarkable progress should be made on the negotiations, the UK side has nothing to fear because the EU’s demands are clear, and everything will be given to us if we sort out our obligations. The EU’s negotiating style is not complicated, but rather easy. To see any considerable progress, we need to meet certain demands, and then Brexit will be ours. The only question is how much we want Brexit, and how willing we are to make those compromises.
Senior Conservative MP, Anna Soubry, suggested that Theresa May needs to take control and build a consensus within the Tory party. She explained that no Tory MP would rebel and vote against the Repeal Bill next week, but that didn’t mean that party members weren’t free to question or scrutinise legislation.
Soubry clarified: “I don’t know of any Conservative member of Parliament that isn’t going to vote for this Bill at second reading.” But she also said that “There is nothing weird, and there is certainly nothing treacherous, about putting down amendments and then speaking to them and indeed voting on them. It’s called democracy.” She reminded colleagues that “We lost our majority, so everything has changed, and one of the reasons I think we lost our majority was because of that rather silly, foolish, bullish attitude as I describe it.”
As Damian Green put it plainly, back Brexit or get Jeremy Corbyn. In other words, unless Tory MPs support Theresa May and the government’s vision of Brexit they will be in the dangerous position of welcoming a Labour government, with Jeremy Corbyn as a leader. And no one wants to hear people chanting “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” to the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” It would be disastrous: “No Conservative wants a bad Brexit deal, or to do anything that increases the threat of a Corbyn government,” Green reasoned.